Ending tomorrow! Give N.C. gifts for the holidays.

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Taste of Honey — The Garden Diaries


Changing seasons always bring new flavors and honey is no different.  I’m excited that we can share something new & unique this year – a seasonal collection of NC honey.  This is the first year we have had quantity enough to offer it for sale.  Our seasonal sampler includes 1 mini 2oz jar each of our spring Wildflower, summer Sourwood, and fall Piedmont honeys.   So, what’s the difference?  It’s all about the source.

Claire Jones at the Garden Diaries wrote a nice piece on honey tasting through the year which I’ve linked to below.  I like her explanation of how the plants are choosy about when to release sugars in their nectar.  Most people see honey ubiquitously available in the grocery store bear and assume it’s all the same.  Just like the wine aisle, right?  There are only 1 or 2 choices there or in the beer cave.  Varietals in any food provide the complex yet subtle nuances of flavor & consistency that beg to be paired with like minded foods.

NC honey varietal sampler box

NC Seasonal Honey Sampler

If you’re looking to give a taste of NC to friends or family this gifting season, consider one of our honey samplers.  The Seasonal Sampler is a snapshot of NC’s 3 distinct growing seasons.  Each honey getting progressively darker and more boldly flavored.   My Flavored Sampler is a fun combination of sweet & savory honeys.  Both are gift boxed and ready to go.  Perfect for hostesses, gift swaps, and NC transplants.   If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll serve it to you!  Both sets are in limited quantities.  Get yours in our Etsy Shop before the season changes again!

Nc Hot Chile Pepper Honey

Chile Infused NC Honey

https://videopress.com/embed/xaMa4Q9r?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

Good raw unpasteurized honey tastes very different from the plastic clover honey bear that you purchase at the supermarket. I compare it to processed cheese vs. a home made varietal cheese. Honey bears are simply an accumulation of many types of honey that have been mixed together, heated and made into a homogeneous mixture which […]

via Taste of Honey — The Garden Diaries

Fall Craft Shows!


The NC State Fair ushers in the fall craft fair season for us.  And I’m feeling kinda proud at our showing this year – 1st place in the honeybee gift basket category for me and 1st place in the Youth Woodturning category for Aaron.  Oh, and the bees won 100% on flavor for all 3 of the honey entries we submitted.  Good job girls!  Now it’s time to share our wins in handmade gifts!  We have 2 big events coming up fast.

honey bee gift basket

State Fair Prize-Winning Bees

Saturday 10/27 we will be at the Pittsboro Fall Festival from 10am-4pm.  This event takes over downtown PBO with over 100 craft booths, food, live music, art demonstrations, magic shows, etc!  It’s the perfect fall family event.  I hope you will come out & join us.  We will have holiday gift specials on hand and prize-winning honey to sample!

seasonal NC honey gift

Honey doesn’t get tastier or cuter

If you’re booked on Saturday, your next shot to see us is at the NC Farmer’s Market in Raleigh on Friday & Saturday 11/9-10 (2 days this year!!).  Our seasonal honey samplers are limited edition and will sell out before the holidays.  These are the perfect hostess or out of town family gift.  Get ’em before they are gone!    I’ll also have the honeys, handmade soaps, lotion bars, and maybe even the legendary granola.

Flower shaped soap gift

Floral Soap Gift Boxes

We  have a couple of other events before the holiday season.  Check our schedule of events for 2018 here or our Facebook page for latest info. I hope to see you at one of our shows!

 

Bee a Keeper


What’s on your bucket list?  Ever considered beekeeping?  What if there was a way to try it without buying all the equipment?  And where do you buy bees anyway?  Our new Bee A Keeper Workshops in Pittsboro, NC are the way to live the dream without the commitment.

beekeeper North Carolina

Bee a Keeper for a day

Beekeeping is a fascinating pursuit – the more you learn about bees, the more they draw you in.  People are concerned about the plight of honeybees and interested in learning more.  But getting started isn’t simple.  With some neighborhood HOAs, it’s just not an option for many people.  Other folks don’t want the commitment.  A bee hive isn’t a crockpot.  Despite some hive designs, you don’t just dump in bees and turn the tap to dispense honey.  It requires a commitment to learning and year round management.

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Beekeeping workshops for all ages

That’s why I’m offering a one day opportunity to experience the highlights – and skip the headaches.  My Bee A Keeper Workshop allows you to enjoy the beauty of beekeeping without the investment of time or equipment costs.  My small group approach (less than 6 participants) gives a personal experience to learn the amazing secrets of the bees.  Spend a half day with me and you’ll learn how bees communicate in a dark hive, what they look for in a food source, and how they cooperate to keep the colony humming.  Plus you’ll get the once in a lifetime, hands-on opportunity to don the gear and work a real honeybee colony!

Enter for a chance to win!

Or extend your learning with our full day option.  After a locally catered honey-themed lunch, you’ll learn about enjoying pollinators in your garden and learn to make your choice of beeswax candles or honey soap.  Finish the day with a pick-your-own bouquet from our cutting garden.  You’ll take home a handmade hive products to enjoy or gift from your day in the apiary.

Here’s a look at our plans for the 1/2 day and full day workshops:

            1/2 Day OR Full Day Morning                                       Full Day Afternoon

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To learn more, visit our Bee A Keeper Workshop page.  Our workshops are a great gift for the gardener, nature lover, or recent retiree!  We offer discounts for well-mannered youth and encourage family groups.  Event dates are by reservation and are limited to spring & fall with a maximum of 6 participants.  Visit our online shop to purchase or email me to discuss dates or questions.  Live the dream and Bee a Keeper for a day!

 

 

 

New Online Shop!


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BNF Garden Gifts

Raisin love

Dexter cattle love

We now have a direct, online shop on the website!  You can browse all of our awesome raw honey, artisan jam & NC handmade gift products there.  PLUS – now you can order online and pick up at the farm!  Available for all BNF items plus those not in the Etsy shop, including high-demand BNF free range eggs, seasonal flower bouquets, & Bee A Keeper workshop tickets.  Plus you get the awesome experience of breathing the fresh air and meeting the farm critters.

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Bee A Keeper

What??  You haven’t heard about our workshops?  Buckle in.  For all you dreamers & wishers who are arm-chair beekeepers, here’s your chance to live the dream.  Mark something off your bucket list by joining one of our Bee A Keeper half or full day beekeeper experience workshops.  All the glory with none of the headache.  Full details available on the website and in my next blog post.

Now at Logan’s Trading Company in Raleigh!


Closer to Raleigh!  I am excited to announce that Buck Naked Farm products are now available at Logan’s Trading Company in downtown Raleigh.  Logan’s has long been my go-to place in Raleigh for organic gardening supplies, classes and advice.  They are a fixture inside the Raleigh Beltline for anything to beautify your landscape – from vegetable plants to soil amendments, garden ornaments, and home decor.  And now Buck Naked raw honey, soaps, jam & apparel!  You’ll find a selection of our farm & garden oriented soaps, in addition to our summer Strawberry Vanilla & Triple Crown jams.

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Buck Naked Farm products now at Logan’s Trading Company in Raleigh, NC

Logan’s is also a longtime partner with Plant a Row for the Hungry, an amazing collaboration of local gardeners to donate homegrown food for the better good.  It’s humbling to see the annual tallies of food donated to the Inter-faith Food Shuttle through this group.  If you grow edibles, including herbs, please consider sharing your harvest or planting an entire row to donate.  Any amount is welcomed.  Logan’s even offers free seed packets for those getting started with the program.

I am delighted to share space with a place that shares my values of community, gardening, and family.  Stop in to shop but stay for lunch at the adjacent indoor/outdoor Seaboard Cafe.  The whole facility occupies the former train station of the Seaboard Railroad.  (If you are lucky – you’ll see the still-functional CSX rail lines shuffling cars.)  We will be on site for Logan’s fall Harvest Festival and Holiday Open House.  Check our events page for specifics on dates and times.  Fall is for planting.  Enjoy the coming cooler weather with a garden project that starts with a trip to Logan’s!

 

Honeybee Day this Saturday!


Honeybee on Butterfly Bush 4This Saturday 8/18 9am-3pm is Honeybee Day at the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh.  It’s a special event day to celebrate the hardworking honeybees who transform our flowers into food. We will be there with some amazing raw honey from this year’s harvest plus our NC themed handmade soaps, jam, and gifts. We have some new things planned this fall.  Stop by to see what’s coming and say hi to the bees in our observation hive.

Honeybee in NC

One of our honeybees hitching a ride

At our booth, you can also register for a chance to live the dream – Bee a Keeper for a day! Win a spot in an upcoming workshop where you can learn bee basics, attract them to your garden, get your hands into a real hive, and even harvest honey to take home. If you’ve ever wanted to try out beekeeping without the commitment or equipment investment – this is your chance.

NC Raw honey

Real honey is liquid gold!

There will be lots of other vendors on hand with all sorts of bee info as well as honey and hive products. Come out to do your market shopping and enjoy the naturally sweet gifts from the bees!

The Buzz in my Ear


I confess that I’m not a shopaholic.  But I love unique finds.  Things that speak to you. For me, it often involves bees.  And boy do they show up everywhere. I pin these – either instead of buying them, or to remind me to buy them.  Either way, it’s my curated collection of honeybee love.  Pinterest is always a great source for gift ideas.

I think my favorite are the bee earbuds.  Sadly they show as out of stock every time I’ve  clicked.  Bummer.  I think it would be great fun to stick the little buzzers in my ears to listen to a podcast or some music while prepping dinner.  And speaking of podcasts, these have become my new go-to when driving deliveries, kids, or errands.  Sometimes I  need something more than music but less than politics.  Go podcast.  It’s like an audio magazine for any niche you can dream up.  Cooking, shopping, fashion, sports, business, metal detecting, art, hunting, human interest and yes, there are even beekeeping podcasts.  I’ll spare you the nerdy details.

One of my favorites has to be Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It.  He tags it as “The podcast for the curious mind with the short attention span.”  Count me in.  He tells tales of human interest, generally well-known figures you will recognize, but from an obscure angle.  The blissfully brief show weaves a tales of humble beginnings, quirky side hustles, or scandalous news that you’ve probably never heard.  My two favorites are “The Merry Christmas” edition with the ominous red phone that never rings, and “A Potty Mouth with a Secret” about more than concealed recipes.  The stories are well told, interesting, and quick enough to fit between errand stops.  Great fodder for future cookouts and cocktail parties.

You Bet Your Garden with Ed McGrath (of former Organic Gardening fame) is another favorite.  This call-in style show is wildly entertaining for the garden-inclined.  McGrath has both the knowledge and witty sense of humor to answer backyard gardening questions from around the country.  There is always a question of the week which he delves into more detail.  Topics range from tree mulching, fig protection, and irrigation ideas.  Long form style but broken up with lots of question segments that make it easy to pause and pick up again later.

Theresa Loe hosts Living Homegrown, a podcast about “living farm fresh without the farm”.  Since we have the farm, I thought I’d have graduated from this one.  But Theresa covers a variety of topics on critter keeping, cooking, gardening, and preserving.  I loved her recent show on making true pickles (fermented pickles – not those bootleg quick pickles I’ve been making all these years).  Just when I think I could host the show, she brings on a new topic in bread baking or making hard cider at home.  and I love her forgiving approach that any small step is progress.  Great for the DIY’er with limited or abundant space.

Special Sauce by Serious Eats creator Ed Levine is a solid choice for any foodie.  Although I’m not in the know enough to catch all of the chef name dropping that goes on, I still enjoy the topics.  His recent interview with Rodney Scott about his childhood work ethic and roots in pit barbecue was real and refreshing.  I listened to this one as we were extracting sourwood honey last week.  (Extracting can be a repetitive and arduous task – but rewards the laborer with drippy honeycomb to chew on while working/listening.)  Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ is now on my bucket list.

Hunt, Gather, Talk is a niche podcast for the outdoorsmen in your life.  Author Hank Shaw talks edible foraging, fishing, wild food prep, and outdoor skills.  all neatly sown together and presented on a rustic audio table.  A must for the hunter or chef of the hunter.

My newest indulgence is Potluck.   A duo of Will & Chris discussing all sorts of southern culture.  Most recently was a dive into the regional sodas made in the south.  The NC ones I knew (Cheerwine floats from Cookout are well loved round here).  But there were all sorts of others that I’d never heard of – like Cannonborough Blueberry Vanilla and Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale.  Plus some great reminders of Barq’s, Nehi, and Sundrop.  Glass bottles rule.  Long-form conversational podcast on a variety of interesting stuff – especially if you are into bourbon.

Iphone podcast

Iphone podcast icon

If podcasts are new to you, click the purple podcast icon on your iPhone to get started.  Then check out the iTunes Store or Stitcher for podcasts.  Search and ye shall find.  If you are already a podcast addict, share your favorites in the comments below.  I’d love to add to my library que!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Summer Going


Vacations inevitably end.  But you can take home the smell of your summer beach trip with our new handmade soap NC Beach Collection.  This trio joins our OBX Sea Salt Soap to keep your skin smelling salty even after the tan fades.

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My new NC Beach Collection includes the raw beauty of the NC Shoals, hip East Beach, and swashbuckling Cape Fear.  The collection is currently available at our newest retailer – Riverside Adventure Company on Bald Head Island and will be washing ashore in our Etsy shop too.  But like popsicles and fireflies, it won’t be around all year!  Grab some to gift to your fellow beach bums or vacation hosts before it goes out with the tide.

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NC’s Favorite Recipe?


Summer barbecues and potlucks mean signature dishes.  Every family and locale has something they are known for.  July is full of such occasions.  Not sure what to bring?  How about North Carolina’s signature dish?  Meet Google doodle.

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If you are new to these, Google makes these tidy little interactive graphics on all sorts of topics.  This month, they curated every state’s most popular recipe (a Google foodle!), including North Carolina.  I played along thinking I’d score a barbecue recipe or a blueberry cobbler, maybe even a sweet potato casserole.  So I jumped on the doodle link and scrolled to NC.  Know what I got?  Snow cream.

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Photo by Gimme Some Oven

Let that sink in.  North Carolina’s most popular recipe: snow cream.  I was bewildered.  Although refreshing, snow is hard to come by in July.  And it doesn’t exactly fit the guise  of seasonal eating either.  (You snow cone loyalists stand down.  I’m talking traditional dishes.)  I scrolled through the other states – SC: chicken bog (stew), CA: quinoa, MD: crab dip, KS: meatballs, UT: zucchini bread, WI: meatloaf.  Surprising but reasonable.  Snow cream?

Some investigation into the methodology unraveled the problem.  While billed as ‘Every State’s Most Popular Recipe’, the doodle results were aggregated from the most recipes searched in the last 12 months.  There are 2 glaring issues with this:

  1. People don’t search for recipes they know how to make.  They are searching for things they want but have no clue how to prepare.
  2. NC had above average snowfall last winter.  9″ in the Triangle area.  (I know northerners, whoopee!).  But what do you do with an unexpected mountain of snow and kids at home for a week?  Google snow cream.
statefair

Photo by Chatham County Dept of Agriculture

So I’ll let it go.  All this doodling begs the question of NC’s favorite recipe.  This isn’t the tomato/vinegar sauce debate that gave rise to t-shirts and license plates, but a signature dish.  When someone comes to NC, what do they have to eat?  I think it should feature a NC product.  According to the NCDA, here are the top agricultural food products last year:

  1. Broilers (chicken) – #4 in US
  2. Hogs – #2 in US
  3. Turkeys – #2 in US
  4. Soybeans
  5. Eggs
  6. Beef
  7. Corn (mostly animal feed)
  8. Sweet potatoes
  9. Beef
  10. Dairy

Clearly protein rules.  It brings double the value of field crops.  But if we rule those out, what about human food field crops?

  1. Sweet potatoes – #1 in US
  2. Peanuts #6 in US
  3. Wheat
  4. Blueberries – #7 in US
  5. Tomatoes – #6 in US
  6. Potatoes
  7. Cucumbers – #3 in US
  8. Peppers
  9. Apples – #8 in US
  10. Strawberries – #3 in US

some-of-the-great-produce

Now we have something to work with!  I’m partial to desserts, so I’ll lobby for sweet potato pie or blueberry cobbler.  But there’s room to negotiate.  Obviously Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without NC.  You can play on the Google doodle here.  Then I ask, what is NC’s favorite recipe?  What’s yours?